9 January 2006 | Approved: 15 February 2006
Mayor John Compton called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:40 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Linda Baim, Georgette Cole, Betsy Klinger, Tom Land, and David Stopak. Also present were; Maintenance Supervisor Jim Fletcher, Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Charlie Challstrom, Ann Briggs, Bruce Rothrock, Terry Kirtz, Chris Kirtz, and George Paine.
Terry Kirtz came to discuss employee reviews. She asked if the public comments were allowed and by what vehicle the public would get the review information. Mayor Compton explained that the process was not public but that people could comment, either positively or negatively, at any time. He went on to say that he hoped to have comments from the sub-committee, comments from the employee and then compare the two. A target date of April 1, 2006 was set for the reviews.
Approval of Minutes
Darrell Anderson moved, Linda Baim seconded that the Town Council minutes of December 12, 2005 be approved as amended. Vote: 6-0.
Darrell Anderson moved, Linda Baim seconded, that the Treasurer’s report for December be accepted. Vote: 6-0. Mary Challstrom noted that this year’s anticipated gypsy moth spraying may not have to occur. The final determination will be made next month.
Jim Fletcher, in his role as a McCathran Hall Needs Committee member, presented an idea that may solve the ground water/furnace room stairs drain problem at McCathran Hall. He believes that this issue should be addressed for the long-term. Associated with this repair would be a new fiberglass door for the furnace room entrance and Bilco doors for the above ground entrance. He also explained the new lock system for the windows in the Octagon and reported that this system would cost $300.00 more than budgeted. Jim also reported that the furnaces in McCathran Hall had not been inspected by a professional in 10 years. He would like to see them inspected. The Mayor and Council agreed. Discussion…
The Mayor and Council authorized the expenditure of funds for the lock system project but cautioned that the locks must be user-friendly.
Mayor Compton asked Jim to repaint the hold-back lines and the crosswalks on the roadways. Georgette Cole asked Jim to check the roadways to see if the contractor was finished sealing the cracks. Mary Challstrom asked Jim to remove the trash at McCauley Street and Washington Grove Lane.
Darrell Anderson reported on the following:
407 Acorn Lane: The Planning Commission does not know how to approach a resolution because the issue of ownership of Johnson Alley remains equivocal. Mayor Compton stated that the Town Council will not act on this issue without the Planning Commission’s opinion about the
violations along with proposed remedies. Bruce Rothrock asked how the Town attorney could render an opinion about the ownership of Johnson Alley when he wasn’t a surveyor. Mayor Compton said that the burden of proof is on the resident. He also stated that the Planning Commission must come to a conclusion about whether or not there is a violation. Discussion…
Mayor Compton wants a factual conclusion about the issues with this property by the February meeting of the Town Council. After that, if necessary, Mr. Rothrock could meet with the Town attorney to discuss the issue.
- Municipal Infractions Ordinance: The Planning Commission supports the Municipal Infractions Ordinance. The Implementation Resolution was discussed again in light of the Town Council’s request for a list of those properties recommended for remediation under Option #1 and those recommended for “grandfathering”. Unlike at the last meeting, members of the Commission were undecided about how to apply the remediation requirements under Option #1. It was recommended that a comprehensive list be developed before this decision could be made.
- Master Plan Revision: Members of the Planning Commission were asked to pick a section of the Master Plan to review. The list will be developed and suggested changes will be offered at subsequent meetings.
- 205 Grove Avenue – a new submission for a breezeway/porch connection between the main building and the garage was denied.
- 103 Grove Avenue – fence along Grove Ave. was approved.
- 113 Grove Avenue – porch addition approved.
- 102 Ridge Road – major renovation was approved, pending the HPC review.
- 125 Grove Avenue – addition was denied due to incomplete information.
- Intergovernmental – Darrell Anderson reported that the Montgomery County MML held their annual Legislative Kick-off Dinner on January 4th at the Golden Bull in Gaithersburg. Fun was had by all and the MML released their list of priorities for 2006. They are as follows:
- “Supporting Responsible and Sustainable Growth” initiative aimed at holding off a challenge to municipal powers in the areas of annexation, planning, zoning, and eminent domain.
- “Replenishing Municipal Fiscal Resources” initiative will concentrate MML’s resources on restoring full funding to valued State programs, including Highway User Revenues, Community Legacy and Community Parks and Playgrounds.
Linda Baim reported that the ice rink is ready for action. Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating.
Linda Baim reported that Bill Saar has completed his re-vamping of the Town website. It now offers a user friendly home page, rotating pictures, an historical gallery, and an oak leaf icon which easily distinguishes the entry when it is bookmarked.
Roads & Walkways
Georgette Cole reported that the crack sealing project is only 20% complete to date. Jennifer, from AB Veirs, believes that the contractor can finish the remaining 80% in two (2) days.
The next Recreation Committee meeting is January 25, 2006. Betsy Klinger reported that the Rec.-sponsored New Year’s Eve bash was a smashing success. Ticket sales covered all but about 10% of the costs. The Committee has approved sponsorship of a free concert by former resident Tanya Anisomova on January 28, 2006. Ann Briggs has taken responsibility for overseeing the arrangements for the concert.
The McCathran Hall Needs Committee met on January 4, 2006. The Committee has identified some unexpected expenses associated with planned Hall improvements and requests Council consideration of them. See the Maintenance Report. Progress is being made on the following:
- The purchase of a folding coat rack.
- Wheaton Locks will come out for an estimate to add locks to Recreation closet, the S.I.T.P. closet and to fix the Women’s Room lock.
Betsy Klinger reported that dog walkers and other field users should be aware of hunting activity in the Casey fields. A freshly butchered deer was seen in the second field on January 7, 2006.
see Maintenance Report.
Historic Preservation Commission
David Stopak reported the HPC had a lengthy discussion about procedures for reviews and permit approvals. The Commission believes that the Planning Commission is approving permits without an HPC review with some regular frequency and would like to call this to the attention of the Council, PC and Clerk. They respectfully suggest that maybe some further discussion is required. The HPC recognizes that timing of an application could create delays for the applicant that can seem onerous. 102 Ridge Road is the most recent plan that was approved before an HPC review was completed.
The HPC is reviewing the following permits:
- 125 Grove Avenue – addition
- 113 Grove Avenue – porch enlargement, enclosure & roof modification
- 102 Ridge Road – renovation
The HPC has received a total of 76 responses to the questionnaire. They will collate the answers and present a report to the Council and the Planning Commission next month.
Municipal Infractions/Implementation Resolution Discussion
Darrell Anderson presented a very early draft of known violations in Town. A discussion about notification letters, time periods, correctable violations, grandfathering, and Options 1 & 2 ensued. Georgette Cole reported that an inquiry posed to the Maryland Municipal League netted a reply from the Town of Bel Air who has actually implemented this type of legislation. It has been a positive experience for them. There was more discussion about re-building a non-conforming structure after a fire, what the current ordinances provide for this, consistent and accurate enforcement, neighbors “squealing” on each other, the option of appeal, and exactly what message the Mayor and Council are trying to send. Georgette Cole asked if the Town attorney was sure that the Town was protected from legal actions by residents. The Mayor said yes.
Tom Land moved to approve Ordinance 2005-08 with the new Article IX and wording changes. Betsy Klinger seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
Darrell Anderson moved to approve the Implementation Resolution using Option #1. Tom Land seconded the motion. Vote: 3 For (Darrell Anderson, Betsy Klinger, Tom Land); 2 Against (David Stopak, Linda Baim); 1 Abstention (Georgette Cole).
Zoning Text Amendment #2005-07
After lengthy discussions about each of the proposed changes, the Mayor and Council decided to do more homework on this ZTA and consider it next month. Betsy Klinger agreed to take on language for deer fencing, Darrell will take on PODS, and Tom with address the definition of “front”. During the discussion about the definition of an Accessory Building, Planning Commission Chairman John McClelland asked the Town Council to consider over-turning the Board of Zoning Appeals ruling on the addition at 103 Brown Street. The Planning Commission believes that the Board of Zoning Appeals over-stepped their bounds with their re-interpretation of a common roof. David Stopak asked that the change to the definition of an Accessory Building be deferred until the Master Plan work is completed in order to fully address the issue of duel dwellings in Washington Grove.
- Cator Property – Mayor Compton reported that Town attorney Bill Roberts said that the Town could develop a new zone for this property but it would require a map amendment. A meeting to define the annexation with some flexibility in the lay-out should be scheduled with the Harrison’s, John Compton, John McClelland, and Kathi Kershaw. Mayor Compton also proposed the idea of buildings with commercial on the bottom and residential on the top. Discussion…
- Casey Field – Mayor Compton reported that all of the legal papers for the condemnation of the Legacy Open Space field had been filed. The owner’s request for a 3 month extension for their response was denied. The Town should hear something by Jan. 13, 2006. A meeting with the legal department at Park & Planning is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2006.
- Shady Grove Master Plan – The County Council will vote on the proposed plan on 1/17/06.
- Deer Park Bridge – This issue appears to be dormant. It will probably remain so until after the coming elections.
Montgomery County Department of Homeland Security requested that the Town approve a Hazard Mitigation Resolution. David Stopak moved to adopt Resolution 2006-01, unless objectionable issues are found. Linda Baim seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
Linda Baim moved to adjourn. Georgette Cole seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 p.m.